Vintage Quilts
Cherished Treasures

What are vintage quilts? What makes a quilt vintage and not just old or antique? Surely there is some difference between these terms, something more than the funny way the English language seems to have multiple words that can be used interchangeably to describe the same thing.

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the definition of the adjective form of the word vintage is

1 of wine: of, relating to, or produced in a particular vintage
2 : of old, recognized, and enduring interest, importance, or quality : classic
3 a: dating from the past : old or b: outmoded, old-fashioned
4 : of the best and most characteristic —used with a proper noun {vintage Shaw: a wise and winning comedy — Time}

Synonyms of vintage include antique,oldfangledold-schoolold-timeold-timeyold-worldquaintretroretrograde, and old–fashioned.

At first glance, the definition seems to affirm the original suggestion that perhaps there's no real distinction, and vintage simply means old. But further consideration of the definitions reveals there is indeed a very real difference, one that when applied to quilts and their history, is critical. The distinction is one of "recognized, and enduring interest, importance, or quality."

Does that provide the answer to the original question? Sort of. Yes, vintage quilts are old. But how old? And yes, old quilts are often valuable, but in what way? Even with a dictionary definition, the answer is still vague and ambiguous, so in many ways we're left with an "eyes of the beholder" situation.

Is your old quilt a vintage quilt?

If after considering the definition, along with its vagueness and ambiguity, you think your quilt is indeed vintage, please consider sharing pictures and stories of it.


How old is old? For purposes of this site, pre-1970. That is by no means any kind of "official" definition, just a guideline for this site. If you have a treasured old quilt that is not old enough, please consider sharing it on the Heirloom Quilts page.

What makes your quilt "valuable"? Perhaps the craftsmanship, or the exquisite hand-stitching, or the beautiful colorplay of the fabrics, or even its sentimental value. Sometimes the "value" is obvious from the picture, but usually there's a lot more that makes a quilt special than just what can be seen.

[ ? ]

Upload 1-4 Pictures or Graphics (optional)[ ? ]


Click here to upload more images (optional)

Author Information (optional)

To receive credit as the author, enter your information below.

(first or full name)

(e.g., City, State, Country)

Submit Your Contribution

 submission guidelines.

(You can preview and edit on the next page)

What Other Visitors Have Said

Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page...

Grandmother's flower garden 
The top was stored for many years in my friend's closet. I just finished hand quilting it. The newest fabric is from the 40s; the oldest are feed sacks …

Not sure of type of pattern 
My grandmother made this quilt top in the 1940's or 1950's in Salisbury Center, New York, from scraps from her household sewing. The quilt shop staff felt …

Old Signature Quilt 
Black with 20 white flowers or stars approximately a foot around, each with ten petals or rays and each of the ten has the hand-stitched name of a person …

Stained Glass Window Quilt 
This quilt was made by my grandmother sometime back in the 1960's. It is made of "panels" that have tiny triangles of fabric sewn together in a circular …

West Virginia Beauty 
This quilt was hand made by my great-great grandmother after my grandfather was born she could never walk again. My aunt and grandmother made quilts for …

Vintage Diamond Flower Baskets Quilt 
This innovative stylized diamond flower basket design is machine-pieced and has large blocks separated by green, resulting in a large zigzag pattern. …

For as long as I can remember Not rated yet
This quilt has been in my family for years. I remember it as a child way back in the 1960's. Unfortunately, I don't know much else about it though... …

1931 Friendship Quilt Not rated yet
Whenever we rescue a "signature" or "friendship" quilt of an unknown origin, the story of it is left to our imaginations. Such is the case with this simple, …

Vintage Dresden Fans Not rated yet
This fan-tastic vintage quilt top was designed using quarter Dresden plates that are hand appliqued with a type of blanket stitch to form a fan using …

Vintage Star Flower Quilt Blocks Not rated yet
This lovely set of 12 vintage star flower quilt blocks was donated to the Lubbock Chapter Project Linus by a "blanketeer" as a fundraiser. Measuring …

Rescued Vintage String Star Quilt Not rated yet
Last year a vintage quilt cataloging task force went from city to city in New Mexico, and when it came to my town, I participated in the event. I think …

Click here to write your own.


There are many online sites with information about the heritage of quilting in America. Some are excellent, containing well-researched scholarly information, such as The International Quilt Study and Museum at the University of Nebraska - Lincoln.

Others, such as Block Central's Quilt Directory contain links to many fine sites that pertain not only to the history of quilts, but to other elements of quilting as well. 



Can't Find It? Look Here!

only search Quilting in America